There are well documented and widely publicized health disparities among residents living in greater Cleveland, highlighted by a recently released life expectancy map of Greater Cleveland area showing a life expectancy of 82 years in Lyndhurst but only 70 years in Glenville. The Glenville neighboorhood, a predominantly low-income African American community immediately adjacent to University Circle, also reports astonishingly high rates of infant mortality (18.9/per 1,000) and neonatal mortality (14.8/per 1,000) which are nearly 3 times the rates reported for the state and national averages. Furthermore, the percentage of children in Glenville with elevated blood lead level is 9.6%, drastically outpaced the rates reported for the state (1.5%) and national average (0.6%). Environment factors, at the personal, neighborhood, as well as community levels, have been increasingly recognized as important determinants of health disparities. A full understanding of how these factors may drive these stark health disparities in Glenville is critical for implementing evidence-based and effective interventions to reduce the observed disparities.
The “MyGlenville Community and Environmental Health Assessment” project is jointly conceptualized by the Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health at Case Western Reserve University, the Coniglio Construction Company, the Famicos Foundation, and the Sears-Swetland Family Foundation based on a shared vision of ‘environmental justice and health for all’. This community-based participatory project aims to build a long-term partnership with the Glenville community and to comprehensively and longitudinally assess the living, environment, and health of a cohort of 500 residents representative of the Glenville community. This project will provide a foundation for community-wide efforts to advance the community and environmental health of the people of Glenville, Cleveland, as well as communities across the country.
To assess the impact of the broad environment (biological, physical, neighborhood, and community) on the observed health disparities in the Glenville community, and to ultimately implement evidence-based interventions to reduce these disparities. Specifically, the project will:
- Examine the baseline characteristics (diet, lifestyle, behavior, environment, and biological factors) of a representative sample of Glenville community residents.
- Fully engage the community for long-term improvement for a healthy environment and healthy living.
Partners & Collaborators
- Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health, Case Western Reserve University
- The Famicos Foundation
- The Coniglio Construction Company
- Sears-Swetland Family Foundation
- Stonebrook Montessori
- The Presidents’ Council Foundation
- Wellness Institute, Cleveland Clinic
The study is conceptualized by and built upon a community and academic partnership guided by principles of community-based participatory research. The project will be implemented in 4 phases:
1. Community Engagement
3. Data Collection
4. Data Analysis & Dissemination
Data will be collected at baseline of ~500 Glenville residents. Data collection will be coordinated by the Famicos Foundation and Swetland Center for Environmental Health. Baseline data to be collected include dietary, health, lifestyle, environmental, and behavioral information using computer-assisted personal interview, supplemented with mail-in self-administered questionnaires. Biosamples (hair, toenails, urine, and stool) will be self-collected by the participants in mailed out/pre-labeled kits. Samples of soil and household drinking water will also be collected. Participants will be actively followed longitudinally (beyond year 1) for health outcomes.
Project Timeline & Activities
There is increasing recognition of the inextricable links among biological, social, and environmental determinants of health and health disparities. MyGlenville Community and Environmental Health Assessment initiative will provide a lasting infrastructure for diverse community partners to work together to generate community-relevant knowledge, to advance the health of greater Cleveland, and to reduce health disparities.